Varadkar warns ‘some jobs will cease to exist’ but expects growth in some sectors

Taoiseach says number of retail and creative arts jobs will shrink but care sector will grow

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told the Dáil that “some jobs will cease to exist” but there would be growth in the green and digital sectors. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told the Dáil that “some jobs will cease to exist” but there would be growth in the green and digital sectors. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell

 

The number of jobs in retail, the creative arts and transport will shrink in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic but there is likely to be employment growth in the care sector, the public sector and construction.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told the Dáil that “some jobs will cease to exist” but there would be growth in the green and digital sectors.

He said that in a changing economy new jobs had to be created through the public, private and foreign direct investment sectors.

He said that education and training opportunities were “essential because economies are always changing and the pandemic is changing economies globally”.

Mr Varadkar told People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett that they could only surmise or estimate what the economy will look like in the future.

Long-term unemployment

Mr Boyd Barrett had called for a new deal for workers facing the prospect of long-term unemployment, during a question and answer session on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the wake of the warning by Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe about potential economic devastation and a return to a 1980s-style depression, the Dún Laoghaire TD said “we need to proactively act to ensure we do not return to a period of mass protracted unemployment”.

He said they had to ensure that people get back to work and “are not thrown on the scrapheap”.

Mr Boyd Barrett warned that for the foreseeable future “live entertainment is in deep trouble” as is the future for 20,000 taxi drivers whose industry had been decimated.

He said 2,000 Debenhams workers “were thrown on the scrapheap by a single company, which could be the first of many”.

These workers should be brought in to address the newly formed Covid-19 committee, he added.

Mr Varadkar told him “it is reasonable to say there will be a lot more jobs in care. There will be more jobs in the public service and more jobs in construction, for example”.

Green recovery

“There will probably be fewer jobs in retail, and perhaps in transport and the entertainment sectors because of the way our economy will change not just here but across the world.”

He said education and training opportunities should be provided for future jobs in a new environment “which will see a green recovery but also a digital recovery. But some jobs will cease to exist.”

The Taoiseach said this happened in 2011 with 15 per cent unemployment and over 30 per cent youth unemployment, but as recently as February this year “we were very close to full employment. It can be done and we will do it”.